Fishing report: Kansas lake levels are making significant progress toward normal

Here is the fishing report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and regionally around Kansas and Missouri for July 31, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: 85 degrees, dingy to clear (10 to15 feet) visibility, 25 feet high and falling Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: tough fishing lately. Water clarity on the main lake is clearer, but there is color in the back of major creeks, especially after a rain. Bait fish are everywhere. The shad are suspending in about 15-20 feet off main lake and secondary points all the way into major creeks. With no current, the bait moves off banks and points. If the sun is out, go deep using jigs, twin tail grubs, tubes, shakey ned heads, or drop shot 20 to 30 feet down. You need to cover water to get bit. The jig beaver or big worm Texas rigged is productive. Jewel Gem Shad swimbait will move through those old shoreline bushes well and catch those suspended fish. Summer patterns will most likely be out on the old shoreline points, islands, or humps hanging around bait fish. If there is wind or clouds, powerfishing will work if there’s a front moving in. Check submerged roads and manicured areas for feeding bass. Wind will also help the look for long points with a channel swing nearby. Topwater like spooks, gunfight sammy redfin ploppers, and poppers and are working. Use walk the dog style baits on open water and poppers on isolated cover. Walleye guys are trolling and doing fair. Suspending fish are tough so be sure to get out early to beat the crowds and the heat. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished very well. Heavy generation with no wadable water in last week. The hot spot has been the Narrows. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite combination is a cerise San Juan worm with a pheasant tail nymph (#14) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 51 degrees, clear, light generation in mornings, 3 units in afternoon Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Powersite Dam is fixed. Use caution when navigating the lake. 2-pound line is very important when water isn’t running. The early and late bite is the best.You’ll catch more trout before 7 a.m. than after. Stay in the shade as long as possible. Night crawlers are still the hottest live bait, with the Pink Powerworm a close second. For nightcrawlers, only use half a worm and inject it with air using a fill needle so it floats slightly off the bottom. Only hook it once, don’t ball it up on the hook. For the Powerworm, folks are fishing it 4-5 feet deep early. When it gets lighter outside, they’ll go deeper - up to 9 feet deep. The Lilley’s Landing 1/32nd-ounce jigs using two-pound line early in the mornings have been very productive just about anywhere on the lake. Black marabou jigs have been good lately. When the water is running in the afternoons and evening, use a 3/32nd- or 1/8th-ounce jigs in sculpin, white, black and olive colors. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 87 degrees, slightly stained, about 15 feet Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the best bite has been walleye recently. They have been down in 30 feet of water and hitting the Bink’s “Many Shad” spoon in white color.

LONGVIEW: low to mid 80s, stained (2 feet), about normal. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: fishing has been slow to fair overall in the past week. Catfish have been biting the best in the last week. Worms or prepared baits have been productive baits. Look for water inflows. Bass have been fair on plastics in brush piles and along weeds. Morning bite is better. Whites have been schooling intermittently in 5-12 feet of water near timber in the Little Blue River arm near drop offs. Fishing is available from the marina Monday-Friday. Fishing hours are 7am-7:30pm. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: low 80s, clear, 13 feet high Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 3,000 CFS being released. All species are slow but have been getting better. Crappie are slow to fair trolling crankbaits. Bass have been fair, but they are being found deep. White bass have been picking up lately.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid 80s, slightly stained, 1.5 feet high Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: fish are still being caught primarily on the main lake. Crappie are very good trolling crankbaits near main lake points. Smaller crappie have moved into brush. Catfish are very good on main lake and secondary points using cut bait 25-30 feet down. Bass are on main lake points and brush piles catching them on soft plastics and crank baits.

JAMES A. REED: low 80s, clear, normal Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: Largemouth bass are fair on topwater early in the morning and late in the day. Live minnows also work well in most lakes. Anglers continue to catch 3-pound fish or bigger on a weekly basis on a variety of baits. Channel catfish are fair on prepared baits and cut bait. All other species are slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: low 80s, clear, 9.9 feet high Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: The fishing has been very good recently. The walleye bite has been very good on points in 15-20 feet on jig and crawlers, but the bite is starting to show some transitions to the summer pattern on bottom bouncers. White bass are showing themselves and being caught on a ¼ oz Bink’s spoon. Crappie are starting to transition. The trolling bite is dying down. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: mid 80s, stained, a little high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: White bass schooling has been intermittent, but bigger fish are coming up. Try rooster tails, whopper ploppers or other small topwaters. The thick grass patches have died back substantially, but there is still some submerged grass in the back of coves. Crappie are hard to find. Look for them suspended 15 feet down or more near the mouths of coves. Jigging minnows has been most productive. Largemouth have been fair and found on the north side of the lake along large structure like boulders or trees. The bite has continued to be fairly tough so you’ll want to work very slowly. Bites have been subtle. Some walleye have been found on points on a jig and crawler. If you target them, 6-8 pound monafilament line is more than enough. Use half a crawler on an 1/8th oz jighead that has a good bait keeper. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid 80s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: the bass bite has been slow to fair in the last week. Look for them on the shady side of wood structure. Crappie are scattered and hard to find. Look for them in structure 10-15 feet deep. Trolling or casting small crankbaits or using live minnows should be good. Wipers are scattered, but will stack up together so use your graphs to find them and drop a spoon or cast a swimbait. There have been reports around the blow hole after rains pass through. Catfish should be patrolling areas with water coming into the lake. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 83 degrees, clear to stained, 2 feet high Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: bass are hitting top water baits early and late around shad on main lake points and bluff ends. Drop shot rigs later in the day have been productive on fish 25 - 40 feet deep suspended over deep trees. Football jigs on main lake mixed rock and gravel points 12-20 feet’ deep has been working. White Bass are slow with a few scattered fish surfacing with black bass in the mornings. You can also find them trolling small shad colored crankbaits. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, about 18 feet high Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: total discharge is 50,000 CFS. Crappie are being caught on the flats around willow trees in 12 feet of water or more. The crappie bite has picked up and will continue to get better each day. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass are being caught on main lake points using 10-inch worms. Catfish have been good in 15 feet on points with current.

SMITHVILLE: 82 degrees, clear, a few inches high and dropping Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: 500 CFS releasing (as of Monday). The crappie fishing is only getting better as the water goes down and the temps go up. The 2019 brush piles are seeing lots of action. Minnows are better than jigs right now 6-8 feet deep on slip bobber. Catfishing is excellent. Most of the bigger fish - flat heads and blues - have come off of trot lines and limb lines using live bait like goldfish or cut baits. Dip baits will be better for channels. Bass have been fair on 10-inch worms, jig and pig, or a brush hog. Some early and late top water is also working. White bass are good and have been showing up on the main lake in the mornings and evenings chasing shad. Make sure you are armed with a white rooster tail, 1/8 oz road runner with a white twister tail, a pepper spoon or a small crankbait. Walleye have been fair dragging a jig and crawler or casting deeper crankbaits, #5 or #7 shad raps, flicker shad and rattle traps.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 83 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows and small rooster tails. Catfish are fair on cut bait, stink bait, or chicken liver. Bass/wipers are good on plastic jigs and nightcrawlers. Spinnerbaits have been productive on windy days. Wipers can sometimes be caught on chicken liver under a bobber.

KILL CREEK PARK: 86 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or minnows. Bass are fair on plastic worms and spinner baits. Topwater baits early and late are also good. Catfish are fair on cut bait or chicken liver. There was a large channel over 10 pounds caught in the last week.

WYANDOTTE: low to mid 80s, clear, normal Outlook: KDWPT reports no change since 7/3/19: Largemouth are good on finesse baits targeting underwater vegetation. Smallmouth bass are good near rocky bottoms with crankbaits, jigs, and swimbaits. Crappie are fair near deeper structure on jigs and minnows. All other species slow to fair.

MELVERN: 82 degrees, clear, 7.2 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: 1,500 CFS being released (as of Monday). Crappie are fair and mostly caught near submerged trees and along the docks on minnows. White bass have been poor to fair on shallow crankbaits and minnows. Channel cats are fair lakewide on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue catfish are fair, catching a few at the west end of the lake and in the stilling basin on shad sides and entrails. Smallmouth are fair lakewide on minnows and shallow crankbaits. Walleye are poor to fair on deep crankbaits while trolling.

CLINTON: 81 degrees, dingy, 18 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: 3000 CFS being released (as of Monday 7/29) At that time, all boat ramps in the State and Corps. Parks were closed due to high water.Fish feeders will not be operational until water levels recede to normal.

PERRY: low 80s, clear, about 18 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: all the boat ramps are still closed so there hasn’t been much fishing. Folks have been catching blue cats down below the spillway but nothing much else to report. The Corp. won’t have any campsites open for Labor Day.

COFFEY COUNTY (WOLF CREEK): upper 80s/low 90s, clear, about normal Outlook: KDWPT report last updated 7/25: Entrance gate phone number is 620-364-2475. Be sure to call ahead for lake conditions. Walleye have picked up in the last week. Channel cats and blues are good working wind blown banks with various baits. Also try creek channel swings and humps. White bass and wipers are fair using shad imitation lures like small spinners, crankbaits or bucktail jigs. Look for schools of shad or focus on wind blown flats or points. Smallmouth are fair on crankbaits, swimbaits, and finesse plastics around rocky habitat. Don’t be afraid to go offshore and fish deeper around humps and dropoffs, using drop shot rigs. Largemouth are fair around shallow cover and standing cattails, using reaction style baits should produce some fish. Jerkbaits, lipless cranks, vibrating jigs, or spinnerbaits. Some fish may be caught off rocky points using large plastic worm or shakey head. Crappie are fair vertical jigging around the standing timber or channel swings.

LA CYGNE: mid to upper 80s, stained, high Outlook: KDWPT reports no major changes since 7/3/19: The water level is very full and has flooded lots of weed beds that are full of crappie, channel catfish and bass. All catfish species are excellent right now on sunfish or cutshad, worms, prepared baits, and liver. Bass are good. Fish the rip rap areas, use cranks, plastic worms, lizards, spinner baits, or shad imitation baits. Bass over 10 pounds have been caught recently. White bass have been good to excellent at the hot water outlet. Use shad imitations or silver spoons. Most of the fish caught at the hot water outlet have been in the 1 to 2 pound range. Crappie are fair but picking up. Some have been caught off of marina coves and along the dam. There are a good numbers of fish 10- 12 inches long. Best lures to use are jigs/ minnows near structure. At the dam, bounce jigs off the outlet wall, but don’t go over the restrictive cable. Try any of the brush piles or Georgia cubes placed for fish habitat. There are some close to the marina shoreline. White bass have been good near the hot water outlet. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps, call 913-757-6633. Good shoreline angler access is provided by the Linn County Park on the west side of the lake. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 81 degrees, stained, 11.5 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: 1500 CFS being released (as of Monday 7/29). No major fishing updates since 7/3/19. Channel catfish are good. Use worms or dip baits and sunfish entrails or cutshad, stink/prepared baits. All other species are slow. The fish feeders are on. The outlet can be very good when releasing large amounts of water. There is the occasional harvest of the blue catfish. All other species are slow.

MILFORD: 80 degrees, stained, 19 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/28/19: Discharging 3,000 CFS (as of Monday 7/29). Channel catfish can be caught on cut bait, worms, and stink bait. Blue catfish are typically caught on fresh cut bait. Target wind blown flats. Walleye are slow to fair and can be found targeting rocky or wind-swept mud banks with jigs, crankbaits, or bottom bouncers. Crappie are slow to fair. Look for them 10-20 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. At the outlet, catfish are fair on cut bait; walleye, white bass, and wipers are slow on jigs.

HILLSDALE: upper 70s, stained, 6.75 feet high and falling Outlook: KDWPT reports: 700 CFS being released (as of Monday 7/29). As of 7/12/19: Jayhawk and Marysville boat ramps are back open all other boat ramps remain closed. The Sunflower campground is also open now. Still some flooding around courtesy docks. All camping areas in Jayhawk Park Area are closed. All fishing has been slow to fair, but crappie have been picking up lately in brush piles on minnows. Submerged cedar trees have been the ticket for some anglers. Look for bass along shallow, flooded structure. Some walleye are being found on shallow rocky points and adjacent mud flats. Some walleye are also being taken at the spillway. Crankbaits and jigs are the most productive lures right now.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): low 80s, stained, 8.2 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism last reported 7/25/19: The two state park boat ramps (Osage and Marina Cove) are closed as is the Boller Point boat ramp. There are still several open ramps that can be used safely including Granite Creek, Walnut Creek, Schoen’s Cove, and North Fork Bridge. This high water may stick around for awhile and boaters should be aware of any new potential hazards which could be showing up in the newly flooded water. Anglers should be able to find the best numbers of walleye around the Walnut Creek area, along the state park shoreline north shore, and south of the Cawker City golf course in 10-18 feet of water on crankbaits. White bass have been excellent. Check around the dam and off main lake points along the north shore and near the south bluffs. Trolling along the Cawker City causeway can also be good if the water is not too murky. There have been several reports of white bass surfacing on calm days and anglers should be able to take advantage of that using Rattletraps, slab spoons, and Kastmasters. Smallies can be caught along the dam and north shore around the state park area, as well as the south bluffs. Largemouth bass numbers are best in the back end of Walnut Creek, Granite Creek, Mill Creek, and Mealls Cove. Jig and Pig, white spinnerbaits, and Ned Rigs are all good options for early summer bass. Catfish have been good. Anglers have been using shad sides, shad gizzards, shrimp, and stink baits to catch mostly channel cats with a few small blue catfish mixed in. The best areas to try now include Carr Creek, Oak Creek, Fisherman’s Bridge, Boller Point, Cawker City dike, and Granite Creek. Anglers have also been chumming using fermented soybeans and wheat.

TUTTLE CREEK: 73 degrees, stained, 40.5 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: no major changes since 7/3. Running 15,000 CFS (as of Monday). Most fishing has been slow due to high water. Very few anglers have been on the water. The high release rates have been moving saugeye downstream from the Reservoir, which has led to some good fishing in the river pond, the river below the dam or at Rocky Ford. Everything else has been slow.

WILSON: upper 70s/low 80s, clear, 7 feet high and falling Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/17. All boat ramps were usable. There has been recent reports of keeper Blue Catfish being caught throughout the reservoir. Try points in Hell Creek and shoreline habitat near West Minooka and Elm Creek. Use fresh cut bait. Stripers are fair with a few reports coming near the bluffs on the upper end and the river channel near Duvall. Try spoons and jigs/road runners in 12-20 feet of water. There are reports of big walleye being caught off points and flats from Duvall to Rock Town on the north shore. Try jigs and swimbaits in the early morning and late evening. Black bass are good on soft plastics and jerkbaits have worked well along rocky shorelines and reed grass. Spinnerbaits have been working well when the wind is blowing. Topwater and jerkbaits are good for largemouth and smallmouth in the very early morning and late evening. Whites have been surfacing in the mornings and evenings. Try spoons and small topwater baits during this activity. Try 1/16 oz. jigs on windblown points near Lucas and even in the upper reservoir near Elm Creek and Duvall.

EL DORADO: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, 1.3 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: 882 CFS being released (as of Monday). Ramp Update 7/29/2019. All boat ramps usable. Wipers are fair to good trolling or casting crank baits along windy shorelines. White bass are fair along main lake points and windy shorelines on curly tailed grubs or inline spinners. Crappie are being found in flooded timber or brush piles and are being caught on minnows and jigs. Walleye are fair drifting jig and crawler combos or pulling worm harnesses on main lake points and flats. A few are also being picked up on larger crankbaits.

Tyler Mahoney is a Rockhurst University-educated outdoors fanatic who works to support his hunting and fishing habits. Read more of his next-generation insight at mahoneyoutdoors.com.